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PC dismissed for 'feeding gossip' about colleague to relatives of suspect

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The chairman called his behaviour 'disgraceful'.

PC  dismissed for 'feeding gossip' about colleague to relatives of suspect


Date - 2nd October 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
3 Comments3 Comments}


A Met police officer persuaded a young man he did not need a solicitor for a criminal interview and then phoned his father about “rumours” he had been falsely accused in a bid to rectify the damage, a misconduct panel have ruled.

PC Clifford Fox, based at Hackney, was responsible for transferring Joey Doherty, now 26, from Wood Green police station to Stoke Newington after he was arrested on February 23, 2014.

Mr Doherty asked for a lawyer when he was first taken into custody but later changed his mind.

Legally qualified chairman Christopher McKay ruled PC Fox, who has served 14 years in the police, did advise Mr Doherty not to ask for a lawyer as this would slow the process down and mistakenly told him accepting a simple caution would not impact his plans to travel to America.

He then called Joey’s father, Trevor, out of the blue and told him about rumours Joey was falsely accused and said the officer Joey received a caution for punching “was always lying and making up evidence”.

Joey’s caution was later cancelled and the officer PC Fox referred to went through a lengthy investigation. The officer was cleared of all wrongdoing - but not before he left the police service.

According to Mr McKay, Mr Doherty’s struggle with the officer ensued after he told him the police could not give him a lift home.

Mr McKay found allegations of gross misconduct proven against the police officer and dismissed him without notice.

“The fact that PC Fox discouraged Joey Doherty from receiving legal advice was in itself a serious departure from the standards of professional behaviour required of a police officer,” he said.

“This was then compounded by PC Fox attempting to undermine the validity of the caution by questioning the veracity of a fellow officer.

“The MPS relies on cooperation and respect amongst its officers.

“The criminal justice system depends on the integrity of police officers.

PC Fox undermined both these fundamental principls by his actions.”

Neither was the panel impressed by the argument PC Fox should be credited for getting Joey’s caution cancelled - the panel believed there was evidence against Joey.

Mr McKay added: “The panel gives PC Fox credit for his good character and makes allowances for his obvious nervousness.

“However the panel was of the opinion that PC Fox sought to minimise his culpability and repeatedly claimed to have acted with the best of intentions but in the wrong way.

“The panel finds that PC Fox was trying to rectify a serious error of judgement which he had made and did this in a wholly unprofessional and malicious way. “

PC Fox was criticised for displaying a “want of integrity” and Mr McKay said the public would be “shocked” to learn how he ignore official guifance about dealing with an arrested person.

Mr McKay called his actions “disgraceful” and said the language he used to describe his colleague to Trevor Doherty was “insulting and demeaning and highly unprofessional”.

PC Fox produced 17 character references from colleagues, local residents’ representatives, community leaders, friends and members of the public but the panel concluded personal mitigation has limited impact in police misconduct cases.

His lawyer declined to comment.

The panel took two working days in which to reach its verdict and the hearing was plagued with technical issues which threatened Police Oracle’s ability to report on proceedings.

Press and public are required to watch misconduct proceedings in a separate building to the Empress State Building, where hearings are hosted, via video link which frequently breaks down and cuts out.

Police Oracle has made MPS aware on several occasions the poor quality of the equipment is compromising the principle of open justice and the government’s mandate to host the hearings in public.

After a two day wait for the outcome of the hearing, the video link broke down completely and no audio or image was transmitted to the viewing room.

By the time the MPS arranged for our reporter to enter the Empress State Building, the panel had withdrawn to consider what sanctions should be imposed.

Mr McKay eventually announced now-former PC Fox was to be dismissed but said he could not give reasons because of “IT problems”.

Initially Mr Mckay would not consent to allowing Police Oracle to see a copy of the document from which he read during the public hearing and insisted the document be redacted.

Police Oracle has contacted the MPS for a comment about the way the videolink service is compromising public access to the hearings.

View On Police Oracle


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What a strange and bizarre case.

I wonder whether a Final Warning might have been more proportionate?

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38 minutes ago, ParochialYokal said:

What a strange and bizarre case.

I wonder whether a Final Warning might have been more proportionate?

Not a chance. He screwed over a fellow officer to the point they were criminally investigated. This was the right choice.

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What a strange and bizarre case.

I wonder whether a Final Warning might have been more proportionate?

I don’t think so. Even at the very earliest stages of your career you know not to advise prisoners on there rights to legal advice. If you have concerns over the validity of evidence you either challenge that evidence through investigation or you raise it through supervision. If you can’t raise it through supervision then you do it anonymously. Again, everyone knows that. Then to undermine a colleague by making malicious allegations, in my opinion, amounting to slander deserves dismissal.

As the panel said, the bobby failed in honesty/integrity at many levels. Good bye.
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It's disappointing that the article refers to the arresting officer as 'found no case to answer - but not before he left the service'.... Was that last bit really necessary, as it my view it casts doubt over his character?

It's also a shame the article seemed to go on about the IT / video conferencing issues.... Mention it, but don't go on about it. Even write a separate article about it. But don't make it look like the panel was hiding stuff.

Whilst I agree that there should be public accountability of police officers, I really disagree that these hearings are held in public. How many other professions does that happen in?

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Zulu 22

Being held in public was brought in just as a hammer to use against Police Officers. It is completely against justice, as it is not a public trial in a public Court.  Would any other body stand for this, Discipline in Parliament for instance.

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I was the officer that was assaulted in this matter. Fox was not even on duty at the time and had no idea what had happened. He lied stole evidence and made stories up about me to the suspects family and the suspect. 

The CCTV shows the guy hitting me and hence why after a year long investigation I was cleared of any wrong doing. The reason I left the job has nothing to do with being in the wrong or trying to hide it was purely down to the treatment of the Met police/DPS in this matter. I raised the facts of Fox’s actions to the DPS and his line manager at this time but it was ignored. They didn’t deal with fox till I resigned. Due to Fox’s actions a man has been left off from assaulting a police officer. This all stems from fox being upset that I put him in his place after he phone a rape suspect to inform him he was wanted when the guy didn’t even know we was looking for him. 

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